University of Iceland

SwimCoach is rooted in TIES (Technology and Innovation in Educating Swimmers), an EU funded Leonardo da Vinci project - LLP-LdV-TOI-2008-IS-164001 - that ran from 2008 to 2010, and was managed by the University of Iceland.

The main aim of the project was to improve the quality of swimming teacher training and assessment in a manner that was exciting, innovative, contemporary but cost effective. Swimming education programmes, in Iceland and elsewhere, tend to include a series of topics related to the development of knowledge and effective teaching behaviours delivered through face-to-face lectures and practical workshops and projects. To increase the effectiveness of delivery while minimising cost and inconvenience to participants, these elements of the programmes were transferred to an online delivery model taking advantage of video and web-based technologies, and expertise in the on-line delivery of educational products.

The necessary practical components of the programme have been retained and revamped to work effectively with the on-line components.

TIES was a consortium of three university partners - Iceland, Copenhagen, and Edinburgh – plus the UK’s most experienced online distance learning developer, CAPDM. All courses were single-master sourced in DocBook XML by CAPDM, and published to PDF and into Moodle.

The SwimCoach MOOC suite comprises 16 Courses organised into six Modules, and arranged into three overall Themes:

1. Swimming Skills
2. Coaching
3. Training and Techniques

All courses have a rich online pedagogy and consistent delivery style. In this MOOC format all courses are by self-study, and are completed and auto-assessed through simple on-line assessment quizzes.

Successful completion at a 90% or greater level will trigger the award of a Certificate of Completion.

Students should not be put off by this pass mark. The quizzes can attempted as often as necessary, though on subsequent attempts wrong answers do attract a 10% Penalty, i.e. the best score that can be achieved on a second attempt at a question worth 1 mark will be 0.9, and so on.

The delivery platform is Moodle, which will be familiar to many students who have previously studied online. This learning environment provides a number of expected features, including Forums to allow students to communicate ideas and views amongst themselves.

SwimCoach provides its own interpretation of the MOOC model, which may be different from other MOOC providers. The focus is on concise, targeted textual and video content, using short videos to portray the concepts covered in the text, rather than using video as a means of providing an online lecture. In the true spirit of a MOOC all testing is automated, check the understanding of the student as they work through the content.

In a sense SwimCoach is an ‘xMOOC’. It includes discussion forums, allowing students to bounce ideas around and discuss learning together, but the core of each course is an instructor-guided lesson. By design, the student journey through the course is linear and based on the absorption and understanding of fixed competencies. In this way the learning is delivered in a way that can be tested and certified.

Will I get a certificate after completing this class?
Students who complete the class will be offered a Certificate of Completion from the University of Iceland.

Do I earn University of Iceland credits upon completion of this class?
The Certificate of Completion does not carry any credits for a formal qualification from the University. However, it may be useful to demonstrate prior learning and participation in swim coach education.

Is it possible to gain accreditation for this study?
The SwimCoach courses are identical to the courses offered through CoachesInfo.com at http://www.coachesinfo.com which are the commercially available versions of the courses, carrying accreditation from the World Swimming Coach Association. Members of the Swim Teachers Association can gain accreditation from that body.

What resources will I need for this class?
An Internet connection and a computer.

Can I contact the course lecturers directly?
No. This is a fully automated MOOC. Tutors may participate in the forums, but this is not guaranteed. They may do so to answer frequently asked questions, which may result in postings to the overall course Forum.

How come this is free?
The courses were developed through EU funding, hence should be made freely available. As stated, there are commercially available accredited versions of these course – available at relatively low cost.

When will the course run again?
There is no cohort running of these courses – they operate continually.


Self enrolment SwimCoach Programme MOOC StructureSummary

Module 1
Self enrolment Basic Water Confidence and Front Crawl
Self enrolment Child Behaviour in the Water

Module 2
Self enrolment Introduction to Backstroke, Breaststroke and Butterfly
Self enrolment Becoming an Instructor
Self enrolment The Maturing Swimmer

Module 3
Self enrolment Session Planning
Self enrolment Advanced Starts, Turns and Race Strategy
Self enrolment Growing as a Coach
Self enrolment Introduction to Training

Module 4
Self enrolment Swimmers with Special Needs
Self enrolment The Coach as a Leader
Self enrolment Components of the Training Programme

Module 5
Self enrolment Organising the Learning Environment
Self enrolment Training the Individual

Module 6
Self enrolment Long Term and Season Planning
Self enrolment Mental Aspects of Performance

  • Free schedule
Course properties:
  • Free:
  • Paid:
  • Certificate:
  • MOOC:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Email-course:
  • Language: English Gb


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